Second league success in a row
WICKLOW RFC BARNHALL RFC 22 12
WICKLOW under-19s won the Leinster Division 1 League for the second year in a row after a hard fought final against Barnhall RFC in Athy on Sunday.
The Wicklow side got off to a great start which was quickly rewarded with a penalty by captain Shane Farrar after five minutes.
Shorty afterwards Wicklow won a quick ball off a lineout on the halfway line and some excellent passing in the backline created space for full back KK Beattie to score a try in the corner.
Wicklow continued to dominate and Barnhall paid the price for a high penalty count at the breakdown. Just as Barnhall were finding their feet Shane Farrar cut through the opposition defence to score a try under the posts which he then converted.
The second half ended with Wicklow under pressure. Barnhall elected to run a penalty but the Wicklow defence held firm as it did for the entire match and the half ended 15- 0.
Wicklow played with the benefit of a slight breeze in the second half and expected Barnhall to come back strongly which they did.
Ten minutes in Barnhall kicked a penalty to touch and set up a driving maul from the lineout which finally resulted in a try.
The next 10 minutes were tense as the heavier Barnhall pack set up driving mauls which sapped the energy of the Wicklow side.
But Wicklow dug deep and from a scrum in mid-field the Wicklow backline again set up space for KK Beattie to beat three tackles to score his second try of the day which was again converted by Farrar.
Barnhall were not beaten yet and showed true grit to come back with a converted try of their own with 15 minutes to go.
This made for a nail biting finish as Wicklow soaked up pressure. Any lapse in concentration at this point could have let it slip but Wicklow ran out deserving winners in the end.
This was a real team effort by the entire squad in their best performance of the season beating a very strong Barnhall side.
Wicklow have a second final to look forward to on Saturday week, April 12 when they play Skerries in the Leinster Plate as they hope to complete a double.